The world economy undergoes cycles of upswings and downturns, of varying intensities and durations. During slowdowns or recessions, most organizations look for ways to cut costs. Learning and Development (L&D) budgets are often among the first to experience cuts, as organizations tend to focus on ‘core’ production areas. But while such cuts may bring short-term economic benefits, what is their long-term impact?
MindLeaders’ white paper “Training In Troubled Times: Delivering on ‘What’s To Follow’ With Training” encourages organizations to take L&D decisions during a recession with two goals in mind: (i) surviving the current downturn and (ii) exploiting the upswing that will eventually follow.
Cost cutting exercises during a recession often involve changes to organizational processes and tasks. If L&D budgets are slashed, how will employees be trained to work effectively and efficiently as per these changes? And how will organizations develop the skills they need to ensure they make the most of the next boom?
The white paper examines how training cost cuts may be perceived by different stakeholders (investors, customers, employees). It also advocates viewing downturns as opportunities for organizational ‘soul searching’. All too often, when things are going well, organizations don’t focus on improvement. Tough times force them to ‘introspect’ and rout out the inefficiencies.
During economic downturns, L&D programs have to compete for budgets. L&D program managers have to demonstrate that the programs on which funds have been spent have resulted in positive contributions to business operations.
The white paper suggests four types of metrics that can help L&D departments demonstrate this, while pointing out that specific measurement parameters must be defined based on each organization’s business model. It also stresses the importance of defining L&D programs that are in line with organizational strategies.
The paper goes on to present some points to keep in mind while setting up an effective L&D solution. It then takes a look at the case of an airline company who successfully made it through the 2001 recession and is still going strong today, and identifies the key management and L&D decisions that contributed to the company’s success.
The paper ends with a list of factors to consider when selecting a L&D provider, and an overview of how MindLeaders’ products and services can help organizations to this end.
The message is clear. Those organizations that invest in employee development during tough economic times will emerge better equipped to thrive during the good times.